E-Government on a Friday morning

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So first off I went to the session titled ‘Local/Regional eGovernment: Programme for Change’ with Tim Rainey from Tameside Metropolitan Borough Council, Kari Nenonen, from Finland, and Tom Auwers from Belgium. Again some highlights..Tim highlighted the significant cost savings from the internet for dealing with customers, 21 euros for fac2face as against 0.37 euros for using the web. Kari started off by bringing Xmas greetings from Lapland, outlined the work of his city of Oulu, and pinpointed despite their considerable successes the need to raise levels of awareness among officialdom – key to implementing services rather than simply repeating current processes in digital format. Tom meanwhile produced a nice example in dealing with social security benefits where one key process time in dealing with customers had been reduced from 3-4 weeks to five seconds.

I followed this up with a session on procurement, which I freely admit is not the sexist of subjects, but starts to seem more appealing when you talk in terms of billions of pounds in the context of the NHS. And representing the health service, Peter Holt from DH, outlined the significant work being done in this area including the establishment of a commercial directorate within DH in 2003, and the restructuring of the national procurement organisation PASA, with the idea that the bottom line work in saving money in procurement feeds through to top line targets in freeing up money to plough into patient services. This chimed with AT Kearney’s Stephen Fowles who noted the gap in many public sector organisations in joining together procurement and core business performance – in contrast to the private sector – even though the cost level is about the same to both public and private sector. Finally, Mikkel Hipp Brun from Denmark raised the importance of standard business documents, and the role of the OASIS universal business language in this respect. 

Right at the end of the morning Rolf Alter from CISCO in a plenary session highlighted again the potentially revolutionary impact of customer choice and co-creation, with work from around the globe from Victoria in Australia to Catalonia in Spain where co-production involved all stakeholders from individual to government. Don’t know if I agree that technology and government connect together simply because they both in their own way represent the ‘crystallisation of aspiration’ but it was a nice note to end the morning.